One of the producers of a controversial upcoming movie about the Christchurch terror attacks has withdrawn from the production amid a public outcry.
Philippa Campbell has announced she no longer wishes to be involved in the making of They Are Us, which is set to star Rose Byrne as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
News of the film immediately prompted outrage with it being dubbed "sickening", "insensitive" and "too soon". A petition to have it axed has earned more than 58,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Campbell said she "deeply regrets the shock and hurt" the announcement of the film caused.
"'I've listened to the concerns raised over recent days and I have heard the strength of people's views. I now agree that the events of March 15, 2019 are too raw for film at this time and do not wish to be involved with a project that is causing such distress," Campbell said in a statement.
"When I was approached to work on the film I was moved by the filmmakers' vision to pay respect to the victims, their families, and those who assisted them. This was reinforced by research interviews undertaken by producer Ayman Jamal with members of the Muslim community in Christchurch.
"I also hoped that telling the story of swift gun control action might resonate in America and other countries that have struggled to create political consensus to control guns," she continued.
"I deeply regret the shock and hurt the announcement of the film has caused throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. The announcement was focused on film business, and did not take enough account of the political and human context of the story in this country.
"It's the complexity of that context I've been reflecting on that has led me to this decision."
Ardern told The AM Show she was "deeply uncomfortable" with the film, but said it wasn't her job to shut it down.
"[I share] much of the same sentiment that you have heard from others that it feels so raw for us all, not least the community," she said on Monday morning.
"My other reaction - at the time I was told generally about the film, but when I was told in more detail what it would likely focus on - my view was yes, there are stories to be told from March 15 but I don't consider mine to be one of them. I consider the stories that need to be told from the Muslim community."